8.3-M WB-funded vaccines haven’t arrived in PH yet

Published October 19, 2021, 3:49 PM

by Chino S. Leyco

Not even half of the coronavirus vaccine doses funded by the World Bank have arrived in the Philippines, the Washington-based multilateral institution reported on Tuesday, Oct. 19.

In a statement, Ndiame Diop, World Bank country director for the Philippines said only 4.73 million doses of vaccines out of the 13 million doses procured by the government under their $500 million loan arrived in the country so far.

While the World Bank did not specify the cause of delay, Diop said the remaining 8.27 million vaccine doses are expected to arrive in the country by December this year.

Implemented by the Department of Health, the $500 million additional financing under the World Bank’s COVID-19 emergency response was approved last March 11.

Despite the delay vaccine arrival, Diop said the World Bank is pleased to contribute to the country’s national COVID-19 vaccination effort.

He also said the World Bank financing will help more Filipinos to be protected against COVID-19, and resume normal lives.

“The country can rebuild the economy faster, restore jobs and incomes, and ensure its resilient recovery,” Diop added.

For COVID-19 vaccine procurement, the government initially earmarked P88.6 billion, enough to administer 148 million doses and inoculate at least 70 million Filipinos or 100 percent of our adult population.

Of the P88.6-billion funding, P2.5 billion forms part of the budget of the Department of Health under the 2021 General Appropriations Act.

Meanwhile, the P10 billion are funds under the Bayanihan 2 law allocated for the COVID-19 vaccination program. The remaining P3.26 billion comes from other sources in the 2021 National Budget and the Bayanihan 2.

Around P57.3 billion are sourced through concessional loans from our multilateral partners, such as the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

The vaccine procurement under the concessional loans follows “a direct payment scheme as a disbursement method.” This means that loan proceeds will be directly coursed from the lender to the vaccine manufacturers upon delivery.